Chestnuts in Yam Paste

Kuri Kinton

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes about

    2½ cups


Appears in

At Home with Japanese Cooking

At Home with Japanese Cooking

By Elizabeth Andoh

Published 1986

  • About

Golden, glossy chestnuts in a swirl of sweet, bright-colored yam paste are also a Japanese New Year’s tradition. They are wonderful as a decorative accompaniment to a Western-style roast turkey or baked ham. Try decorating your platter next time with whole chestnuts, piping out the sweet yam paste in circlets around them.


  • 2 seven-ounce bottles of yellow chestnuts in syrup (sold as kuri no kanro ni in Oriental groceries)
  • 1–1¼ pounds yams
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mińn (syrupy rice wine)


Drain the chestnuts, reserving ¼ cup of the syrup. Cut very large chestnuts in half.

Peel the yams and cut them into 1-inch-thick slices before cooking them in water to cover for 15 minutes. They should be very tender when tested with a fork or chopstick. Drain the yams and mash them, preferably using an uragoshi. Or force your mashed yams through a strainer to eliminate any stringy vegetable fibers. Either way, you should have about 1¾–2 cups velvety mashed yams.

Place the warm yam paste in a small saucepan with the sugar and stir to mix well. Add the reserved chestnut syrup and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 3–4 minutes. Stir in the mirin and the drained chestnuts. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Spread the paste onto a cookie sheet and let it cool thoroughly. Serve the chestnuts swirled in yam paste either chilled or at room temperature. They may be stored for up to 2 months by covering the cooled paste with plastic wrap (make sure there are no air pockets), and refrigerating it.